Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Huron Carol

My favorite "Poem A Day" blog that was written by Maria is not currently active, but its archives remain online, a treasure store of poetry and art. This Christmas post that I read in her collection is titled Jesus! Ahatonhia! It's a heartwarming telling of the Christmas story.

In that entry Maria shared "The Huron Carol," which was composed in 1643 by a Jesuit missionary who lived and worked with the Indians in what is now Ontario, Canada. He was French, and though he wrote the lyrics in the Huron language, he set them to a 16th-century French melody, "Une Jeunne Pucelle."

You can listen to the song on YouTube; the version I put here has singing in French and English as well as what I take to be Huron. The story is about an angel who appeared in the Northern Lights to tell the Indians about the Christ Child. A series of three stamps commemorating the carol were issued in Canada in 1977.

My favorite stanza:
The earliest moon of winter is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
And chiefs from far before Him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt:
Jesus, your King, is born;
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria!
Amen! And Merry Christmas to you all!


Anita said...

Very interesting story and beautiful melody.
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Gretchen, the first two lines grabbed my heart.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Yolanda said...

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Sara said...

Merry Christmas, Gretchen Joanna!

Maria said...

Thank you for posting this. We have an English version on a Christmas Revels CD, but had never heard the original.

A joyous Nativity to you and your family.

Lisa A said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas carols. It's in my Reader's Digest Christmas songbook and I love to play and sing it. My children like it too.